Radha Dahal Honoree Video from WWAAC Alliance Foundation on Vimeo.
Radha Dahal was born in Surey village in southern Bhutan . Her family had to flee the country in 1992 during the ethnic cleansing by the Bhutanese Government while she was in her infancy. The family landed up in a refugee camp in Nepal run by UNHCR. Leaving behind the school built by her grandfather and father in Bhutan she grew up studying under the trees and bamboo huts in the camp using self designed kerosene lamps. Though back in Bhutan the family had a good place to live and enough crops to feed them Radha’s family depended on the food from different donors for almost two decades. Right from elementary school in the camp Radha was a very active student. She played games and participated in the school sports. She also led several child-to-child programs. Every time she passed by the AMDA Hospital in the she had the desire to work there when she grew up and she knew it well that doing well in the school was her only option.
When frustrations were growing in the camps in Nepal with no progress in repatriation to her homeland Bhutan, things took a different turn as the opportunity of third country resettlement for Bhutanese refugees were opened. Such an opportunity was highly encouraged by people and the organizations helping the refugees and Radha’s family was given the option to resettle in the United States. Her family happily accepted the opportunity and in July 2008, she headed for Atlanta, Georgia. She had just completed her board examination for grade 10 and had scored a first division. She had already volunteered many hundred hours in the camp helping her community learn about health and sustainability.
In a New land and in a new school at Dunwoody High she completed her high school in 2010. To pursue her long time dream to be health professional she joined Georgia Perimeter College completing her pre-requisites and later transferred to Georgia State University where she is now studying to be a Respiratory Therapist.
From the day of her resettlement, Radha has been an indispensible member of the Bhutanese American Community in Georgia. Her focus is health and education. Taking the seniors for exercise, gardening and nutrition lessons fill her time while she is at home. Teaching English to her parents and senior community members never makes her tired. Her big achievement came when her parents and several other seniors passed their the US Citizenship test and got their citizenship with more than three years of her coaching them. She has been extremely encouraged by their success.
Radha uses social media and advocates the family connections and family reunions. She has taught many seniors to use Facebook and Face-Time to connect with the long separated family members in Bhutan and Nepal. In 2014 she earned money working at Walmart and took care of her aging parents when they travelled to New Zealand and Australia for family reunion. She also went as their guide when they visited Canada the same year. Today Radha and her parents have video chats with her sister who is in Bhutan and she has plans to take her parents to meet her in future. It is almost 24 years they have been separated. Radha wants to help her sister’s children get their higher education .
In 2015 Radha was awarded the APIASF, United Health Foundation Scholarship which provided her the necessary fund to take up studies full time. Today she is a Respiratory Therapy at Georgia State University. She will graduate in 2017. She is not only the pride of her family but also a leader in the making for her community. She has volunteered in numerous community events. She also volunteered for International Rescue Committee, Atlanta, Sewa International, Hindu Buddhist Spiritual Center and Global Soap Project.